The internal review process covers all decisions made by child protection following the making of a protection order. This includes, but is not limited to:
- the permanency objective for a child
- significant decisions regarding
- care arrangements
- contact between a child and their parents and others
- cultural support
- education, health or developmental support
- involvement of other agencies and services
- entry to or exit from a secure welfare service
- return to parental care.
The internal review process is not available for decisions made by a Court, rather only for decisions made by the Secretary or her delegate in relation to a case plan following the making of a protection order.
Reviews are conducted by an executive officer with line management responsibility for the case, or by another executive officer with child protection expertise.
The reviewing officer may delegate the review process to a child protection practitioner (at minimum CPP6.2 level), as long as this will not compromise the requirements of a visibly robust, transparent and impartial review process.
The decision to delegate a review to a CPP6.2 should also consider the relative impact of the decision under review.
The reviewer must not have had prior direct involvement in the decision under review.
Where a review has been delegated to a CPP6.2, that reviewer will make a recommendation to the EO with line management responsibility for the case. The EO may endorse the recommendation or make a different decision. The EO has ultimate responsibility for the outcome of the review.
The executive officer may transfer a review to another division if appropriate.
For additional information on the internal review process, see Internal review of decision - advice.
Case practitioner tasks
- Advise children and families of their right to a review of decisions and the process to initiate a review.
- Give written information about the process for an internal review of decisions made by child protection to the parent and child:
- whenever a copy of a case plan is provided to a child or parent, following the making of a child protection order (s. 331(2)), and;
- upon request, where the child is subject to a child protection order.
- Where information is sought about requesting an internal review, provide the information without hesitation and encourage the person interested in requesting a review to discuss their concerns with the case planner, if they have not done so already.
- Alert the case planner as soon as possible who will attempt to resolve the issue.
- Assist the person seeking the review to formalise their request in writing, including clarifying the specific decision they wish to have reviewed.
- Prepare background information, documentation and provide advice to the reviewing officer.
- Follow up during the internal review process and after the outcome of the internal review.
- Take notes throughout the review process and complete the record in the case plan and review screens of CRIS.
Case planner tasks
- If information is sought about how to request an internal review of a decision, make contact and confirm with the person that they are entitled to request an internal review. Make every reasonable effort to resolve the dispute, taking care not to inhibit the person's access to the internal review process or contribute to avoidable delay. If the dispute cannot be resolved, offer assistance with making the request for review and alert the EO with line management responsibility for the case.
Reviewing officer tasks
- Review all material relating to the decision, and consult as necessary.
- Meet with the person seeking the review and persons directly affected by the decision, including carers.
- Meet with the child or seek advice from an appropriate source. The views of the child, within their developmental context, must be considered.
- Advise affected parties of next steps and the anticipated timeframe for an outcome.
- Outcomes may include:
- endorsing the decision under review with or without modification to case plan or its implementation;
- temporarily suspending the decision pending further assessment or actions;
- setting aside the decision under review in favour of a different decision.
- Provide a written report no later than two weeks after the conclusion of the review process setting out the decisions made as a result of the review, the reasons for the decisions, including how the rights of the respective parties were considered.
- Provide information about any available avenues for seeking further review.
- If the child or parent requested the review, the review outcome letter should state that the child or parents may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for further review of the decision within 28 days of the decision being made.
- If a person may have difficulty reading English, additional assistance must be provided.
- Ensure the details of internal review are entered in the Internal/VCAT Reviews tab in the Case Practice component in CRIS.
- Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.
Team manager tasks
- Provide the reviewing officer with required background information and documentation to support the review process.
- Ensure that the details of internal review are entered in the Internal/VCAT Reviews tab in the Case Practice section of CRIS.